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Life with AMR Strengths and Weaknesses Of AMR Systems.

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Presentation on theme: "Life with AMR Strengths and Weaknesses Of AMR Systems."— Presentation transcript:

1 Life with AMR Strengths and Weaknesses Of AMR Systems

2 Effects of Remote Reading No meter readers = no more eyes in the field No meter readers = no more eyes in the field Who will spot the problems ?? Who will spot the problems ?? New jumpered sockets New jumpered sockets Good old-fashioned mechanical tampering Good old-fashioned mechanical tampering Dial/ERT mismatches Dial/ERT mismatches Unsealed metering equipment / CT cabinets Unsealed metering equipment / CT cabinets Mid-month demand resets Mid-month demand resets Need to add remote reading Need to add remote reading handheld to R.Ps toolbag

3 Effects of Remote Reading Reduction in the number of reports received where will RP departments work come from? Reduction in the number of reports received where will RP departments work come from? No visual new customer read-in. No visual new customer read-in. Self-read demand meters can complicate check meter reading. Self-read demand meters can complicate check meter reading. Dial/ERT mismatches can cause under billing. Dial/ERT mismatches can cause under billing. Hmmmm... Why is he here? New access issues for RP investigator. Customers New access issues for RP investigator. Customers more suspicious of field visits. more suspicious of field visits.

4 Tamper Codes And theyre useful for And theyre useful for Active tracking of tamper codes during investigation can have some value. Active tracking of tamper codes during investigation can have some value. Values roll over / max out quickly Values roll over / max out quickly Still need a system to filter tamper codes against work orders, outages. Still need a system to filter tamper codes against work orders, outages. Revenue Protection needs to gain an edge into development of next generation of tamper flags Revenue Protection needs to gain an edge into development of next generation of tamper flags

5 Seals and Locks Locks, seals more important than ever… Locks, seals more important than ever… Locking meters at changeover is essential Locking meters at changeover is essential - Pay back on locking ring cost – tough to quantify - Lower cost options becoming available Tracking of installed seal numbers to maintain integrity between meter work orders Tracking of installed seal numbers to maintain integrity between meter work orders - Bar coding seals to track w/ meter service handhelds RF ID Chip imbedded in seals sounds promising, but at what cost? RF ID Chip imbedded in seals sounds promising, but at what cost?

6 New Methods of Tampering Mechanical manipulation still a problem. Mechanical manipulation still a problem. - Covering holes in meter disk - Swapping out ERTs between customers - Pay attention to T-Seal in cover Unplugging ERT for part of the month Unplugging ERT for part of the month - Frequent, mid-month reads can capture Tampering with ERT module components Tampering with ERT module components Upside down meters register forward, but… Upside down meters register forward, but…

7 New Methods of Tampering ERTs can be tampered – components altered, removed to affect transmission. ERTs can be tampered – components altered, removed to affect transmission. Look a little closer at meters with error codes. Look a little closer at meters with error codes. AMRs can fail on their own...or with a little help. AMRs can fail on their own...or with a little help. AMR = a computer with a radio AMR = a computer with a radio If hackers can break into Microsoft, government web sites or a bank ATM… If hackers can break into Microsoft, government web sites or a bank ATM…

8 Strengths of Solid State AMRs Reprogram meter for specific investigations. Reprogram meter for specific investigations. Use Load Profile meter to monitor jumpered sockets. Use Load Profile meter to monitor jumpered sockets. New SS meters offer incredible flexibility of programming options. New SS meters offer incredible flexibility of programming options.

9 Strengths of Solid State AMRs A wealth of new information now available. A wealth of new information now available. Load profile info can show usage drop-offs. Load profile info can show usage drop-offs. - Intermittent bypass being engaged - Low/no use during business hours? Event logs track dozens of event types. Event logs track dozens of event types. - Unreported outages - Periods of no current - Unauthorized demand resets - Log of communication/programming attempts, failures - etc, etc, etc

10 Strengths of Solid State AMRs Manual demand reset/ test mode activation can be locked out. Manual demand reset/ test mode activation can be locked out. Additional values for ERT transmission Additional values for ERT transmission - 3 rd ERT can be programmed for RP purposes - Added cost of 3 rd ERT may be show-stopper Error codes for voltage deviation, low/no current, reverse power flow. Error codes for voltage deviation, low/no current, reverse power flow. - Theyre there, but do they get investigated? - Probably not included in ERT transmission

11 Weaknesses of Solid State AMRs Passwords for programming software critical. Passwords for programming software critical. - One company learned the hard way about not using passwords. - How secure are your companys passwords? How secure is the software? How secure is the software? - At manufacturer - At your company

12 Weaknesses of Solid State AMRs Solid State electronics = inherently higher failure rate. Solid State electronics = inherently higher failure rate. Susceptibility to damage from surges. Susceptibility to damage from surges. - Dont worry. The next design will be better Test mode periodically engaged during month? Test mode periodically engaged during month? Manipulation of Internal CTs is possible. Manipulation of Internal CTs is possible. Hall effect is efficient method of measuring current, but is it vulnerable to tampering? Hall effect is efficient method of measuring current, but is it vulnerable to tampering? - Resistance across module is critical. What if that value can be manipulated?

13 Is RP kept In The Loop? Make sure RP is involved in AMR project! Make sure RP is involved in AMR project! Conflicting priorities for Meter Engineering and Revenue Protection. Conflicting priorities for Meter Engineering and Revenue Protection. - Is RP viewed as an asset or inconvenience? - RP opinion in meter/programming choices. Who tracks AMR failures and associated revenue losses? Who tracks AMR failures and associated revenue losses?

14 Which Communication Method? System type impacts tamper flag effectiveness. System type impacts tamper flag effectiveness. - Drive by system least effective. A lot can happen between reads. - Fixed network providing nightly reads is better. - Phone line meters provide a wealth of data, but probably limited numbers of these. - Controlled mesh network can provide real-time tamper flags. Catch em in the act? How secure is the communication channel? How secure is the communication channel? - Internet/Ethernet use increasing - Wireless technology is not infallible

15 Missed Opportunity? How many diversions uncovered during conversion vs. how many sealed in place. How many diversions uncovered during conversion vs. how many sealed in place. - Whos changing the meters? Meter mechanics, upgraded Readers, Vendors? - Emphasis on quality or quantity of changes? Possible impact on future recoveries. Possible impact on future recoveries. - Nobody saw anything when the meter was changed?

16 Life After an AMR Conversion Regulators want guarantees that integrity will be maintained, going forward. Regulators want guarantees that integrity will be maintained, going forward. - Proactive inspection programs require bodies ($$) Data analysis is even more critical Data analysis is even more critical - Actively working no use / low use reports - Use of 3 rd party vendors to analyze customer data Skill set, attitude of meter service workforce Skill set, attitude of meter service workforce - How closely are failures investigated? - Meters getting smarter – are people keeping up?


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